Every day I post Twitter, Facebook and Instagram updates for the University of Georgia’s independent student newspaper, The Red & Black. As most people know, Tuesday, November 8, 2016 was the presidential election.
I was unsure of what to expect. I don’t have strong political knowledge and I personally wasn’t ready for the outcome of the election. I also don’t categorize myself as a journalist. I am a marketer, and more specifically a digital marketer. So how was I to play my part as social media editor and deliver what needed to be presented to The Red & Black’s audience?
So this is where I started. The day before the election I created a general Election 2016 graphic. I figured we would have writers all over Athens covering polling places, live tweeting, and continuously creating content. But, photos take longer to turn around. And any content that I was pushing out needed to have a visual because according to a blog created by Buffer, tweets with images received 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. So I created this:
This was an easy way to give all tweets a visual and hopefully this increased our engagement on Twitter and Facebook.
As I’m sure most of you saw, Twitter blew up on election day with hashtags. Specifically, Twitter created #ElectionDay, #Election2016 and #ElectionNight which all three generated a red and blue ballot box with a check. This was important for me. I knew that our primary audience was local to Athens so to better push ourselves into the national audience I tagged almost all election related tweets with one of those hashtags.
This was the hardest time for me, because like I said I don’t have a strong background or knowledge of politics so honestly I was learning as I went.
The first #BreakingNews event was the senate race winner in Georgia. Johnny Isakson was initially called the winner of Georgia by the Associated Press. Because we didn’t have finalized results to us, I thought it was best to credit the Associated Press via their Twitter handle. Within minutes our reporters had a story ready to be sent out. These tweets generated a good amount of engagement because our audience was on social media awaiting results like these.
The next #BreakingNews event was around 11:08 p.m. This was the failure of Amendment 1 in Georgia and more valuable to the audience, it failed in Athens-Clarke county by 77.21%. As this topic had already produced high engagement on social in the past, it did well immediately after posting.
The last big #BreakingNews event was Donald Trump winning Georgia. Because of delays in metro Atlanta county polling stations, this news was highly delayed. Most states had already been called by the time Georgia was officially declared a red state.
No, not the election results, but the results of our social coverage. For Facebook, engagements are up 58%, reach is up 15% and pageviews are up 58%. Granted we do not pay for boosted posts on Facebook so this is an entirely organic progress. Something that I am incredibly proud of.
Lastly, our top tweets are entirely election related for the past 7 days. November 8 and 9 are the highest rated days for engagement rates, link clicks and retweets. Our social engagement soared because of election day and I like to think it’s because we created relevant content, published at the right time, and because we really understood our audience.